‘Poppycock’: Fans debate whether photo of Adele shows cultural appropriation

Debate seemed to conjure opposing views from Black Americans versus Black people internationally

A photo of Adele has sparked an international debate about whether the singer’s African hairstyle and Jamaican swimsuit at a London festival was an example of Black cultural appropriation.

During the weekend, the 32-year-old posted a photo of herself on Instagram sporting a swimsuit emboldened with the Jamaican flag and her hair styled in Bantu Knots, a hairstyle popularized by Black women. The singer was participating in the annual Notting Hill Carnival, which celebrates London’s Caribbean and Black culture.

She posted the photo with the caption: “Happy what would be Notting Hill Carnival my beloved London GBJM”.

What fans and social media said about the photo

There were some immediate reactions on social media from those who found it “bizarre” and “problematic” for Adele to wear her hair in an African-inspired style and sport the Jamaican flag at the Caribbean festival.

“This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic,” Twitter user and journalist Ernest Owens wrote Sunday.

When the discussion of canceling Adele began, there were others who came to Adele’s defense, saying the criticism of her garb and hairstyle were unnecessary.

The debate also appeared to become a war of words and opposing views among the Caribbean community, African Americans and some Africans who call England home. The sentiment for many Jamaicans and others familiar with the festival was that Adele was merely showing support for the culture. However, some Black Americans found it unacceptable for the soulful vocalist to rock such a look. The debate spilled over into the varying communities’ views of each other, some said Sunday.

Adele has not responded to the ongoing conversation. The musician and mom rarely posts on Instagram, and just months ago, another photo of her, after a considerable weight loss, also became a trending topic.